Terrorism; our nation’s debt, crime, and unemployment; the decrease in value of our homes, investments, savings and retirement plans; shortages of oil and food; the recent rash of floods, tornadoes, earthquakes and volcanoes; personal tragedies and trials, the loss of health, the loss of strength that comes with aging or sickness… all of these, and many others, produce anxiety, fear, and in some cases panic, in the hearts and minds of us all.
I am the first to admit that, at times, I am scared. I don’t know what the future holds for my family, my country and my self.
It is during times like this that I realize how blessed I have been in life. There was a time terrorism was insignificant in the world, our nation was being blessed economically, socially and spiritually. Life still contained personal trials and heart aches, but I had the strength and health that was necessary to face any task that was at hand, in general, life was good. Sadly, looking back, I realize I did not appreciate the blessings I was given.
I have no one to blame but myself. I didn’t count my blessings and now, as I grow older, I begin to see these temporal blessings falling by the wayside. As these blessings begin slip away, anxiety, stress and fear fill the void.
So what are we to do in these troubled times? What is the answer to fear in the hearts of someone who has lost their job, is facing the foreclosure of their home and, perhaps, does not know where their next meal is coming from? What about those who are suffering the loss of a loved one through death or divorce? Even worse, what can possibly take away the anxiety and stress that stems from losing a loved one who was the sole provider for the family? What comfort can be given to someone who is facing failing health with no medical reason to believe things will get better?
By God’s grace, over the next few blog entries we will be looking into the Word of God to see what comfort we can find during these catastrophic times of our life. In our 3-part study we will be looking at three basic principles:
- Realize that the fearful times will remind us of God’s presence in our lives. He is always with us.
- Realize that the fearful times fulfill a purpose in our lives. It opens doors of opportunity to us.
- Realize that the fearful times will come to an end. A glorious eternity awaits us.
Isa 41:10 (KJV)
Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
1) [A Psalm] of David. The LORD [is] my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD [is] the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
PRINCIPLE #1 – Our God Is With Us During The Fearful Times of Our Lives…
As we face the troublesome times of our lives three basic issues produce the feelings of fear that we experience…
- feelings of isolation (no one knows what I am facing, no one can remedy my situation, no one cares about me)
- feelings of confusion (why is this happening to me? What should I have done differently?, what can I do now to change my situation?) and finally,
- feelings of inability (my circumstances are out of my control, I cannot continue on under this burden, I’ve done all I can and it has not helped)
In our text (Isa 41:10), we are given insight into overcoming all three issues that produce our anxiety and fear.
“Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee:” –
#1 -feelings of isolation – Remember our gracious Lord is ALWAYS with His people. We are never alone as we face the many fearful times in our life. He is with us, holding our hand through the difficult times that we face.
Do we remember Psalms 23? It is perhaps the most familiar portion of Scripture known to man. Within the verses this Psalm we find verse 4: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou [art] with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
How about Psalms 57:1? “To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David, when he fled from Saul in the cave. Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until [these] calamities be overpast.”
Throughout a lifetime of trials and anxious moments, David had come to an understanding that His Lord was ALWAYS with him and that He was the refuge to whom David would flee.
“be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God:”
#2 – feelings of confusion – Remember our Lord is with us to lead and guide us through our troublesome times. Although we may not understand the path we should take during these times, our Lord does know and He will lead us on a daily basis. Although confusion may abound as we try to “figure things out”, our Lord will be our mainstay and compass, directing us through the indwelling Spirit to the right path to take.
David wrote about this principle in Psalm 18:28 – “For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.” When we are in the middle of the dark times of our life, it is much like being in a darkened room. We cannot see what lies ahead of us, nor can we perceive how to proceed. But David understood, as we can understand, that the Lord, through His Spirit, would enlighten His path.
“I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
#3 – feelings of inability” – Remember, our God is the all-powerful Creator and Lord of heaven and earth. There is nothing our God cannot do. He can intervene and change even the most hopeless situations that we may face. It is during the times of our greatest weaknesses and inabilities that our Lord can display His greatest acts of power and sovereignty.
Paul understood this principle as he came to a point of acceptance of his physical infirmities in 2 Cor 12:10, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
Isaiah during the course of his prophetic ministry had faced persecution, rejection, mockery all while being ignored by almost his entire nation. It was only through the many experiences of rejection and seeming failure that Isaiah came to understand this important principle found in Isaiah 40:28-31…
“Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, [that] the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? [there is] no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to [them that have] no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint. “
We have seen that the Bible clearly promises that the fearful times in our lives do not have to overcome us. We can be victorious even when we are in the midst of these dark, seemingly hopeless situations that we face….
How can we know if this promise applies to us? David, in Psalm 27:1, touches on this subject.
“[A Psalm] of David. The LORD [is] my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD [is] the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
In these verses, David links his relationship to God with the application of His promises to us. David describes his relationship to God as “the LORD is my light and my salvation”. David here says that the Lord has given him the “light” of knowledge and understanding of the truth of His Word. He goes further and says that the Lord is his “salvation”.
It is only when we have been enlightened with the truths of His Word and we have received deliverance from our sins, that we can apply His promises to our lives. Have you ever been forgiven of your sins? Have you ever come to Him understanding your spiritual needs and His divine supplies?
May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.